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Classy DeGale retains title with ease

ESPN staff
April 21, 2012
James DeGale has only lost once as a professional © PA Photos

James DeGale successfully defended his European super-middleweight title, the Brit showing far too much class to blow away Cristian Sanavia in four rounds.

Fighting for the first time since securing the belt with a majority decision against Piotr Wilczewski last October, DeGale showed no ring-rust as he combined speed with power to completely dismantle his more experienced foe.

The 26-year-old dominated from the off, toying with his opponent, before slipping through the gears in the fourth round. The Olympic gold medallist let his hands go and put the Italian down three times, leaving the referee with little choice but to step in and save Sanavia from more punishment.

Meanwhile, Anthony Crolla surrendered his British lightweight title to Derry Mathews after a domestic war at Oldham Sports Centre. The pair went toe-to-toe from the first bell, Crolla getting the upper hand in the opening couple of rounds.

However, Mathews - who hung up his gloves after losing to Scott Lawton in November 2009 before coming out of retirement the following July - got stronger as the fight went on and knocked down the champion with a stinging right in the third.

Although Crolla recovered and continued to trade at close quarters, he came off worse and a cut soon opened up above his left eye. Crolla was again tagged in the sixth and, after stumbling into the ropes, the referee stepped in - arguably a little prematurely - once Mathews waded in with several more blows.

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